NBA Top 10 Dunkers: #2 – Lebron James
Kings are not born, they are made by artificial hallucination.
-George Bernard Shaw
Dust and smoke are what remain of the King’s doubters. The same can be said about all those who came in the path of the man who took his talents to South Beach as he ascended the steps of heaven and came down with an obliterating fury upon the rim.
LeBron James was born to a single 16-year old mother, and had his fair share of struggles to face. But on the the hardwood of the basketball court the struggles existed only for those who went up against the phenom. The basketball court seemed to be the stage where James let his anger and powers channelize. More often than not it was a dunk that let it all out. The shaken rims and victims of his countless posterizing dunks lay testament to that.
Coming out of St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School, Lebron James was anointed as the “next BIG thing”. Even before the draft, Lebron James was on national television on multiple occasions and already a recognizable name throughout the US basketball landscape. He was supposed to be able to do everything, and more. Into his tenth year, he has more than lived up to his billing. He may not have delivered the promised ring to his native Ohio but the one on his finger right now is all that matters for him.
Lebron James is a freak of nature and there are no two ways about it. His rare combination of athleticism, skill and power is unaccounted for on the courts of the NBA and it will be some time before we see another 6 foot 8 inch 245lb beast with a wingspan of 7′ 0.25″. Add that frame to a 44 inch vertical and you get an idea of what this other worldly phenomenon brings to the floor.
Still unclear of how huge that is? Lebron James has eight inches on the average basketball player in height. Couple that with 12 inches he has on hops and and another 6 inches in standing reach (Lebron’s standing reach is 8′ 10.25″). If we add them together, an average basketball player would have to be 7 foot 10 inches to do what Lebron does on the hardwood.
This video should make it clear of what Lebron’s springs are all about.
Lebron James’s claim to fame is more than his dunks. He is the focal point of both the offensive as well as defensive schemes of his team, the reason why the Miami Heat are the “MIAMI HEAT”. He not only is a uber-elite level player himself but makes all the others around him look like all-stars. This fact can be traced quite accurately to the fact of what happened to the Cavaliers team once he left Cleveland. His playmaking and defensive abilities, along with his now more appreciated shot selection makes him currently sit at the zenith of humanly basketball powers.
However, all the abilities that he gets credited for is because of the athleticism that James brings to the fore. Though the athleticism and the size was always there for the King, his work in the weight room has enabled him to add a few pounds to the frame while not slowing him down even a bit. While opponents have to respect his perimeter jump shots, he also reminds them of his ability to drive and finish at the rim with a punch. If you are pedalling back and see the freight train that is LeBron James come at you, what do you do? You may as well run and hide as that will be synonymous to trying to challenge him at the rim. ‘Freight Train James’ suits LeBron just fine these days. LeBron’s in-game dunks has become the stuff of legends.
LeBron’s ability to rise to the rim is like no other. However, he doesn’t posses the creativity or the dexterity of someone like Steve Francis or DeMar Derozan. But he knows how to get things done, and that too with some authority. John Lucas’ 15 minutes of fame came last season courtesy another one of Lebron’s stratosphere-kissing efforts. When James found John Lucas standing between him and an alley-oop, he did what not possibly many can do. He just jumped over him.
After getting both, his much-coveted ring as well as the title of playoff MVP last season, what is left for LeBron to conquer, you may think, besides multiple championships. The dunk contest would be a start. Who doesn’t want to see King James in the dunk contest? Count me in. His dunking repertoire may be the only thing that still people can criticize. When you think that he can look down at the bucket from up above, it certainly is pretty impressive, but his imagination really lets him down. The only dunk contest he ever entered was the McDonalds Slam Dunk Contest in high school, where he ended up as the winner. But all he could pull off were two off the glass dunks and a self alley-oops off the floor.
The dunk contest may be the final frontier for James to conquer. Does the King cometh?
Check out the others in our list of the Top 10 dunkers in the NBA: